The process of information exchange between two homologous DNA duplexes is known as homologous recombination (HR) or double-strand break repair (DSBR), depending on the context. HR is the fundamental process underlying the genome shuffling that expands genetic diversity (for example during meiosis in eukaryotes). DSBR is an essential repair pathway in all three domains of life, and plays a major role in the rescue of stalled or collapsed replication forks, a phenomenon known as recombination-dependent replication (RDR). The process of HR in the archaea is gradually being elucidated, initially from structural and biochemical studies, but increasingly using new genetic systems. The present review focuses on our current understanding of the structures, functions and interactions of archaeal HR proteins, with an emphasis on recent advances. There are still many unknown aspects of archaeal HR, most notably the mechanism of branch migration of Holliday junctions, which is also an open question in eukarya.

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